NYRB Classics collector. Reads anything, so long as it's good. Sometimes historian. Frequently grumpy: you've been warned. Also at aliceunderskies.tumblr.com.
I was utterly prepared to LOVE! this from the first paragraph. The introduction to goyish, hapless, morbidly romantic Julian Treslove set my heart a-thumping: at last!, I thought, here is a book worthy of the adjective 'Nabokovian!' And at first the book is Nabokovian in the best way; in fact, certain paragraphs seemed echos of some of my favourite lines in Pnin. Alas, it got political and I lost much of my momentum and interest. Then it got tragically serious and I was propelled into a distracting tangent, spending more time obsessing over why I wasn't finding it funny, what is wrong with me, do I lack humor, than actually reading properly. And then, finally, the aimless political plot wound to an end and I was left confused. If I were a better reader I'd go back to it--I really was terribly distracted, worrying about lack of political knowledge and failure to understand humor--but who has the time?One star for the often-interesting examination of male friendships, one star for the heartbreaking Libor, and one star for the excellent first stretch.